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Transformative Principal is 

Jul 6, 2014

Bob Sonju is the Director of K–12 Learning in Washington School District in Southern Utah.

In this first part of the interview, we discuss the following:

  • A little about Bob’s history and what he learned to help him become prepared for being a transformative principal.
  • Bob focuses on making sure all students are doing their best, not just particular subgroups.
  • What prepared Bob to be a principal: being a coach and a special education teacher.
  • What barriers prevent a school from being ready for change.
  • Three fundamentals that are needed to change:
    1. Why do we exist
    2. Describing a perfect school
    3. What are we going to do to make sure we get there!
  • Conversations about structural change take time and informal and formal conversations with teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders.
  • All the voices have to be in the room!
  • Establishment of norms are critical for the success of our school, and while we want to hear everyone’s concerns, we will move forward with the will of the group.
  • The norms for Bob’s schools.
  • The need for “critical friends”.
  • How he deals with the fact of hearing that he is doing something wrong.
  • One of the best interview questions: “Anticipate a mistake you are going to make, and how you will resolve that!”


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